Professor Sarah Johnsen

Sarah Johnsen

Sarah Johnsen is a Professorial Fellow in I-SPHERE. Much of Sarah’s research focuses on homelessness, substance misuse, and related forms of ‘street culture’ such as begging and street drinking. She has particular interest in the different manifestations of and relationships between aspects of extreme exclusion, and in individuals’ journeys into the most severely excluded populations which can often be traced back to childhood trauma. Sarah has extensive experience in assessing the effectiveness of interventions for homeless people with complex needs. She also has longstanding interest in the practice and ethics of research involving vulnerable people.

In recent years Sarah has led or contributed to studies on, amongst other topics: the ethics and efficacy of welfare conditionality; specialist healthcare for homeless people; housing-led interventions targeting rough sleepers (including Housing First); peer mentor schemes; multiple exclusion homelessness; gendered manifestations of severe and multiple disadvantage; rough sleeper reconnection schemes; faith-based service provision for homeless people; policy responses to youth homelessness; links between homelessness and poverty; and homelessness affecting ex-service personnel. This work has been funded by a wide range of research council, government, and charitable sources.

Research Interests

  • Rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness
  • Begging, street drinking and other aspects of street culture
  • Substance misuse, mental health and ‘complex needs’
  • Role of faith communities in welfare provision
  • Practice and ethics of research involving vulnerable people

Contact details


Research Output